6/19 Letters: Decision makers should remember the last time we jumped to conclusions.

Disturbing memories

The recent incident involving the Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and Washington’s saber rattling should bring back disturbing memories of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964. On Aug. 4, the American destroyer USS Maddox reported what was believed to be multiple attacks by North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats. On-scene military commanders questioned the reports, and the commanding officer of USS Maddox said the reports could have been the result of his own over anxious sonar operators and echo sounds from the ship’s propellers. Subsequent investigation revealed that the attacks never occurred.

When the incident was reported to Washington there was confusion, misinterpretation, and rush to judgment. Three days after the incident, President Johnson and Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and the Vietnam war exploded. Fifteen years later, we left Vietnam after 58,000 troops were killed in action and over 300,000 wounded.

George Davis

Fuquay Varina

Climate change

Several letters have appeared the last two days (June 16 and 17) warning of the dangers of man-caused global warming. Most of the media is biased in that direction, and, since most people take what the media says as the truth without doing any investigation themselves, these letters are the result.

However, the media is mostly wrong. The human impact on climate is at worst very small and beneficial, not harmful. It takes a lot of personnel effort to look at the available research, which I have done, to see that this is the correct conclusion.

Dennis E. House

Chapel Hill

Citizens’ support

As Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Because my father, a World War I vet, died when I was a boy, I grew up on “survivor’s benefits,” or government assistance. I am a Vietnam vet, retired university professor, devoted patriot and squeaky clean citizen according to the FBI investigation necessary to obtain a top secret clearance.

But the president thinks otherwise. My parents were immigrants, that is, inferior people. By extension, I am too. The president got a fraudulent draft deferment. I flunked my medical exam and was declared unfit for service. I followed medical advice, had surgery and signed medical waivers for what couldn’t be fixed and fought my way into service during wartime. Because I served in a special military security unit of our Intelligence community, the president claims I am a subversive member of a mythical “Deep State.” The President declares that Vladimir Putin is more trustworthy than I am.

I can endure his ravings. It’s the support he has from so many of my fellow citizens that causes my anger.

Irwin Rovner, Ph.D, CDR, US Navy-ret.


Making opposite case

In his June 12 letter (“More than pro-birth”), regarding the May 29 column “Pro-life should be more than pro-birth,” the writer emphatically makes the case for the very argument he criticizes.

First, he writes “The pro-life people I know are deeply committed to whole life.” The writer may not know the legislators who are diminishing, abolishing or ignoring funding and programs for childhood care. But they are the ones with the power to affect if and how children receive adequate public sector support. Second, in stating “My religion prohibits murder…” he appoints himself arbiter of faith, dismissing the right of anyone else to have valid sincerely held beliefs in respect to the sanctity of life. Third, in stating “At least from the moment a child can feel pain, advocating for laws to protect that child is not a religious opinion but simply a matter of justice and human rights,” the writer sets himself against both the law of this country and globally recognized medical science.

Being unencumbered by doubt is not a qualification for setting standards for everyone else.

Russell Leiman


Shark bites

I was very concerned to read about the the higher number of shark bites off the North Carolina shore this year. I am a regular visitor to the beaches east of Jacksonville, FL and last year recall sighting a number of sharks close to shore, the closest at 20 yards. I am not aware of any documents concerning the reporting the number of shark bites. However, officials should examine whether that could shed light on the situation in North Carolina.

James F. Easterlin

Rocky Mount